Unite condemns the decision by NHS Borders to withdraw...

Unite condemns the decision by NHS Borders to withdraw mental health service for young people in schools

31 May 2017

Unite has today (Wednesday 31 May) accused NHS Borders of implementing an irresponsible and ill-thought out plan to close mental health service for young people in schools, at the worst possible time.

NHS Borders has advised Unite that the Community Mental Health Workers Service for young people provided by CAMHS, which provides support for young people at school, will be withdrawn from 31 July following a decision by Scottish government to reduce this funding stream. NHS Borders are withdrawing this CAMHS service and replacing it with a new model which is not yet agreed. This will leave a gap in the service provision.

Unite regional officer Lyn Turner said: “This decision makes no sense whatsoever to people who care about vulnerable young people. Young adults are being bombarded with negative images and videos in social media that pose a real threat to their mental health 24/7 leaving them feeling inadequate and anxious.”

“The pressure on our young people, especially during exam time, is immense and this decision will add to their anxiety. This makes the decision to close their support network when the schools are closed, all the more irresponsible and ill-thought out.”

“Our members in CAMHS are rightly concerned about the cuts to this service. But importantly they have built up a rapport with service users and now feel they are letting them down.”

“Mental illness is not something you can put on hold until a new model is up and running. Young people with a mental illness need continuity of care. NHS Borders are literally putting young people’s lives at risk.”

Unite is calling on NHS Borders to put a halt to this decision and to conduct a proper review of the service before they make the worst possible decision which will leave young people with complex needs, vulnerable. 

GP’s, pastoral care teachers and school nurses have also criticised the closure and raised  legitimate concerns about the timing which comes when schools are about to close for the summer and the additional support young people can call on while at school, is not there.

There will be no redundancies following the withdrawal with workers being redeployed. 


Notes to editors:

  • Last year the Scottish Government reduced the commissioning monies by 20%
  • Around 40 per cent of young people are likely to suffer a mental health episode at some point. This is far higher than the adult population. 
  • For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Lyn Turner on 07980871394
  • Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with 150,000 members across the economy. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.